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NEW ORLEANS, LA. - Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins addressed the Republican Leadership Conference today in New Orleans, Louisiana. He focused his remarks on increasing attacks on religious liberty in the U.S. and abroad, and called out the Obama administration for its silence in the case of Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian who awaits execution because she converted from Islam.
Meriam languishes in a notoriously rank Sudanese prison with her 20-month-old son and her almost one-week-old daughter where she has been shackled awaiting execution for four months. Nearly 20,000 people have signed a WhiteHouse.gov petition asking the president to grant her expedited save haven in the United States.
At the conference, Perkins made the following remarks:
"Religious freedom is essential to who we are as Americans, and we can no longer assume that all our fellow Americans share that conviction. Therefore we must now wage the fight of our lives to keep that essential freedom.
"In just a few weeks, the Supreme Court of the United States will hand down the most significant religious freedom decisions of modern times in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties cases. These cases are not about contraception or even about drugs or devices that can cause abortions. These cases represent a clash over conscience that implicates the liberty of every American - all of us here today and generations yet unborn.
"The Founders did not believe our form of government could long endure absent the moral compass set by religious conviction. As John Adams wrote in October 1798 to the Officers in the Massachusetts Militia, 'Our constitution is made for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.'
"I am calling on all of us to recognize and affirm that there will be no liberty without religious liberty, there will be no constitutional government unless we remain - proudly - a moral and religious people.
"Let me close by putting our challenge in some perspective. ... Today as we sit in this beautiful ballroom, the wife of an American citizen, Meriam Ibrahim, languishes in a ... jail cell with her 20-month-old son and her almost one-week-old daughter where she has been shackled awaiting execution for four months. Her 'crime?' She has allegedly committed both apostasy and adultery by virtue of being a Muslim by birth and marrying a Christian man. The judge who sentenced her to death under his interpretation of Sharia law had generously ruled that she would not be executed until her baby was born. The clock is now ticking, and the Obama administration remains silent.
"This is a price that none of us yet faces for the exercise of our religious freedom. ... We must pray and work for the freedom of all of the world's Meriams, but to do so, we must rededicate ourselves to a vision of religious liberty that affirms our natural rights here at home. We must do this while there is still time for the America we love to reclaim its fundamental character," Perkins concluded.